Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Africa
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Africa: Vol. XXIV.  1876–79.
 
Central and Southern Africa: Soudan
The Phœnix
Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810–1876)
 
Translated by B. Taylor

WHEN over Niger’s banks is breaking
  Another century’s morning star,
The new-born Phœnix, first awaking,
  Expands his purple pinions far!
He gazes, from the mountain towers        5
  On which his ancient eyry stands,
Towards east and west, o’er cinnamon bowers,
  And o’er the desert’s arid sands!
 
He sees the red sirocco wheeling
  Its sandy clouds along the waste,        10
And streams through palmy valleys stealing,
  Where the plumed ostrich speeds in haste.
There waves the Moorish flag of battle;
  There sound at night the jackal’s cries;
There caravans are chased as cattle,        15
  By storms that far beneath him rise!
 
Southward, he sees the Caffre rangers,
  In gathering hordes, for fight arrayed;
Northward, the tents of hostile strangers
  Are pitched beneath the fig-tree’s shade!        20
There swords are red, where, far-extending,
  Their squadrons combat on the sand,
And France’s battle-cries are blending
  With those of Abdel Kader’s band!
 
These views the Phœnix, troubled never        25
  With War’s wild rage, or Party’s sway,
But from his nest, with proud endeavor,
  Fans their polluting dust away!
And still, where vales in sunshine brighten,
  He gathers spices round his form,        30
And bids his glorious pinion lighten
  Above the thunder and the storm!
*        *        *        *        *
 
 
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